Learning the Styling Power Behind Naturally Wavy Hair

Waves with ultimate definition thanks to Bed Head by TIGI. (Photography: Courtesy of Bed Head by TIGI)

When it comes to curls, wavy hair has the most delicate curl pattern—prone to limpness without encouragement, and bound for beach-wave beautifulness when fully enhanced. “I love the softness and individuality of wavy hair,” says Thomas Osborn, TIGI Creative Director & VP of Education. “Each person’s wave is unique to them, which puts even more emphasis on personalization. When finishing wavy hair, I love working with my hands and the dryer, creating an organic texture.” Here, Osborn helps us understand the magic behind this cool, highly coveted curl pattern.  

Q What makes wavy hair so different from other types of curly hair? 
What’s brilliant about wavy hair is that it’s so extremely versatile. Left to dry naturally, it can have a sort of casual elegance to it, a soft beach vibe or just a nonchalant coolness. It’s also easy to work with, as waves go smooth with little effort. And, if there’s a stronger wave pattern, the texture can go a bit more toward the curly side with the right product and a little encouragement from the diffuser.  

Q What are some of your best in-salon techniques for wavy hair? 
After you’ve figured out what the client wants in terms of wave definition, it’s all about the prep and execution. Towel-dry the hair really well to eliminate excess moisture. Then cocktail products together to customize a formula for the specific texture you’re working with and the type of wave you want. Loosely comb through the cocktail with a wide-tooth comb to help distribute the product evenly, which gives you a more consistent wave texture throughout. For a relaxed vibe, dry the hair loosely—on a low speed and low heat—while working with your hands. For a more refined look, control the texture first by smoothing the hair with a round brush, tonging it and lightly brushing through. When it comes to finishing the look, keep in mind the desired end result. For relaxed waves, skip the hairspray and opt for a product like Bed Head by TIGI Head Rush or Catwalk Camera Ready for shine with no hold. If it’s more definition you’re looking for, this can be achieved with a texture powder balm like Bed Head by TIGI Joyride or Get Twisted Anti-Frizz Finishing Spray. No matter what, keep your product choice and application light. The best thing about wavy hair is the movement, too much product and you lose that.


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Bed Head by TIGI Get Twisted Anti-Frizz Finishing Spray locks in waves with flexi-setting polymers.

Q What ingredients do you look for when it comes to products for wavy hair?
There are some amazing new innovations when it comes to products for wavy hair, and it’s probably no coincidence that’s the reason why we are seeing more people embracing their natural texture. Sea salt is a great ingredient for encouraging a beach texture. Seaweed extract helps add in moisture, making waves luxuriously soft. And glycerin is my wave-enhancing hero ingredient. It draws moisture into the hair and conditions from within. Almost all of our wavy hair products are infused with hydrating glycerin.  

A Few Other Pro Products For Different Curl Types.

1. Moroccanoil Curl Re-Energizing Spray instantly hydrates and refreshes delicate waves with nourishing argan oil, green tea and aloe leaf juice.

2. Aloxxi Texturizing Spray builds up wavy textures without a heavy residue. Bonus: It also provides UV protection.  

3. Pureology Hydrate Air Dry Cream is the perfect  styler for air-dried waves. Jojoba, green tea and sage conditions, while polymers lock in definition. 

4. ARROJO American Wave Glint Texture & Shine Spray enhances natural wavy textures with chamomile, vitamin E, and exotic fruit and flower extracts. 

5. Aquage SeaExtend Volumizing Mist delivers enhanced definition when air-dried, fullness when blown out and sexy smoothness when dried with a diffuser.